Napster Releases iOS App
Napster, the former outlaw peer-to-peer file sharing service turned Best Buy subsidiary, now has an iOS app
that will provide legal streaming access to the 10 million-plus tracks in the company's catalog. While the app is free, you do need to pay a monthly subscription, and downloaded songs will evaporate once you stop paying. The app's functions are minimal, but it's a pretty good option if you've been waiting for a US version of Spotify or iTunes-in-the-cloud.
You may recall that Napster had gotten into hot water back at the turn of the century when they were sued by a bunch of record labels for copyright infringement. The company eventually went legit and got bought up by Best Buy, and now has nearly a million users and over 10 million tracks including brand new releases as well as Billboard hits going all the way back to 1955. The mobile service allows subscribers to stream music to their browser or to the app, and you can search for tracks or artists, play and save songs, and make playlists as well as stream pre-made playlists already on Napster. There's also "Automix," Napster's version of the familiar Genius/Pandora/Last.fm-style auto-generated playlist.
The "Napster plus Mobile Access" subscription will run you $10 per month, or you can buy a yearly plan for $96. This will give you unlimited access to Napster's catalog on your iOS device or on the web from any browser, but any songs you saved will only be playable for as long as you keep your membership current.